The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on August 23 that they’ve officially given their approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine.

The FDA’s decision could lead to a significant increase in vaccination rates. Their decision could possibly make way for more vaccine mandates and ease the concerns of those who are hesitant.

“It’s a huge milestone,” Wen says. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock also described the decision in a statement as one that “puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

The approval process that Pfizer had to go through is the industry standard. The FDA requires six months of data showing that a vaccine or drug is safe and effective. Many were concerned with how fast experts were able to produce the vaccine, making it questionable for how effective it is. Luckily, its approval process was the same process that all other drugs go through before they are put on the market.

According to National Geographic, the approval doesn’t apply to all age groups. Pfizer’s vaccine remains under emergency use authorization for adolescents ages 12 through 15 and for immunocompromised individuals who are seeking a third dose.

“For whatever reason there is a great deal of anxiety about the EUA because it happened so quickly,” says C. Buddy Creech, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program in Tennessee. “I think this will take a few people off the fence.”

Thus, Pfizer’s vaccine remains effective against the newly discovered Delta variant. The FDA signed off on its protection, hospitalization, and death. Public health experts say improving access to the vaccine could go a long way toward saving lives.